Sunday, January 29, 2012

January was a sleeping cat...

... and a new pink capo for the newly replaced neck of my guitar. How could I resist a pink capo? (Plus, it benefits breast cancer research.)

January was winter sunsets from my studio window. But no snow to speak of, pink, or otherwise.

January was a month of surprises; like going to church and having someone say, " I saw your photo in the newspaper yesterday." I thought they were mistaken, so asked, "Really? What was I doing in the paper?"  "Weaving," was the reply, so I knew it had to be me. And it was. Nothing said about me, just the photo and the caption, "Kathy Spoering at the loom" above an article about art seminars. Wouldn't you think I would have known if my photo was to be in the paper? Well.... anyway.

January was, and soon February will be. What will it bring?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Weaving Grace.....

I'm still weaving the small tapestry for the non-juried ATA small format tapestry exhibit. The tapestry is due in March, and I have some travel coming up, so I hope to complete the 8x10" piece this week-end, or early next week, at the latest. Then I can take it with me on an upcoming train trip to do the finishing work.

I got the good news that one of my tapestries will be included in ATA's juried American Tapestry Biennial IX, as well.That is very encouraging, and has given me a real boost for my studio work. I am very fond of the ATB exhibits, as I kind of feel a personal attachment to the exhibit, having organized the first one, and a subsequent one, as well. So I always enter it, whether I think the work I submit will be accepted or not. I did not even think of the exhibit again, after entering this time, as my expectations were not real high. So having a piece accepted was a lovely surprise! This is the 9th ATB. I have entered them all. This will be my 4th time being in the exhibit, so you can do the math... more rejections than acceptances. That's how it goes when one person is choosing pieces for an exhibit. As organizer of a number of exhibits, including the 2 ATB's, I have seen some absolutely stunning tapestries rejected for reasons I could not understand, and I have been totally flabbergasted at some of the accepted works, which I felt should not have been included. So I have learned to not let rejection depress me (too much), nor to let acceptance swell my ego. Twice,  I have had work rejected from one exhibit go on to win Best of Show in another one. Artists are supposed to develop thick skins, and I guess this is why. However, artists are notoriously (and necessarily) sensitive people, in my experience. So the jurying process is a strange way to treat us, really, isn't it?

At any rate, I do look forward to tapestry exhibits, both the non-juried small tapestry show I'm weaving the above piece for (one of my very favorite exhibits!), and the ATB9  exhibit, as well as all the exhibits I hope to see in California next summer at Convergence where I will be teaching. In my part of the country, I rarely get to see tapestries, other than my own. So I will immerse myself in the exhibits this coming summer.

The small tapestry is from a small painting I did long ago that I always felt like I wanted to weave. I am loving the small format, after working on the big loom. I DO love both my small Mirrix loom and my big Shannock loom, but it is good to move from one to the other occasionally. I keep thinking that this is so small, that it should weave a bit faster, though!

Back to weaving "Grace" (the name of the tapestry, though I'm not sure why. It just seemed right...)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A bit of a detour...

While you were not looking, I have been busy in the studio, but not at the loom (where I should have been.) But occasionally, one must strike while the iron is hot. (An aside note about that phrase: I saw a blacksmith use the phrase on PBS's This Old House recently. Being a fiber person, I had always thought it referred to a hot iron, as in what you press fabric with. But it made much more sense when the blacksmith used it to refer to hitting, or striking, the metal while it was hot from the fire to reshape it. Duh. An example of how much our own experiences shape our often faulty perceptions, I guess.)

Anyway, the current 'hot iron' was my woodworking husband being without a project, and eager for something constructive to do in his shop. When we moved into this house 14 years ago, I asked him to build me shelves in the studio closet. What he came up with, much to my amazement and dismay, is what you see above: two narrow sets of shelves up the sides of the closet, leaving the bulk of space useless. So, I jumped on his project-less state and begged him to re-do my closet shelves, to my specifications this time.

Needless to say, all the piled up stuff had to come out of the closet. It filled my studio, the upstairs hallway, and our summer bedroom. Where did all that stuff come from? And what did/do I think I am going to need it for?

This is what my wonderful new shelves look like! This is also what I had in mind 14 years ago when I asked for shelves. It took me longer to deal with all the stuff than it took my husband to construct and install the shelves. I also painted the inside of the closet, which had what I believe might have been the original paint on the upper portion of the closet (from1921).

Some detours are necessary.  Rarely do they save you time or effort, but some turn out pretty well, even when they are not what you had planned for that time. This one has turned out to be well worth the time and effort it took. Goodwill has also benefited by acquiring a good bit of my 'stuff.' That part felt so good, I'm sure they will get more soon!

I have not been completely without creative progress during this project. I have been weaving a small whimsical tapestry on my small loom for the ATA small tapestry exhibit. I have about a third of it woven. I will share it with you later. It is great fun to weave some whimsy again!

Tomorrow I go back to the big loom in the now clean studio. I am ready to spend time with Mr. Fox and his friends again. And maybe now I can find those small beaters and sharp scissors when I need them!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Being Foxy ...

I am weaving the fox in the right tapestry panel of the Nativity tapestries. He and I are enjoying one another. As I weave Mr. Fox, a song by Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer called "Go Tell the Fox" keeps running through my head. It's a nativity song, so is classified as a Christmas song. (By the way, if anyone knows where I could find sheet music or even just guitar chords to that song, I would be ever so grateful!)

Yesterday I sketched Beluga whales. I sketched them because I have been listening to their music. I heard Beluga whales singing about 14 years ago in Cook Inlet in Alaska. It was a magical sound, which I recently found recorded on a sleep sounds app. Hearing it again takes me instantly back to that cool fall morning in Alaska, and to the mysterious song coming across the water from these gentle creatures.

Back to Mr. Fox, who is patiently waiting my attention in the studio....

Friday, January 6, 2012

The good news, and the other news....

Yesterday I mailed in my entry form for ATA's Pacific Portals exhibit. It is the nonjuried small format exhibit that is shown at Convergence. Last night, I warped my small Mirrix loom, so I can weave my already entered tapestry. The tapestry is due in California in mid-March, so I do have my work ahead of me, as I'm still hoping to get the Nativity tapestries done by Easter, as well.

I don't normally recommend that you be the procrastinating work-to-deadline type person that I am. However, you still have time to get an entry in for this fun exhibit, and time to weave the small piece. If you are interested, go to the ATA website and get an entry form and get busy, along with me and several other procrastinators that I know of, but will not mention by name ( you know who you are!)

The 'other news?' I awoke in the night and realized that I do not want to weave the design I have chosen at the sett I have warped the loom. I was so into The Mentalist episode I was watching as I warped, that I did not think it through clearly. So tonight, I will try to somehow change the sett without having to totally rewarp the loom. (All while watching "The Help," which came from Netflix in yesterday's mail. I know I shall love the movie, as I loved the book, so I'll try to do my thinking before it begins!) Well, as I have also committed to enter 2 painting exhibits, and am not sure I want to send existing work, I think it is time to get back into the studio! I am weaving a fox today....

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Unfinished Business....

I have been working to get my 2011 "YearBook" completed, so I can move on into the new year.


I have used a fairly large format book this year, as you can see by comparing it with my size 7 foot next to it.

Most 2-page spreads combine sketches and photos from a one- to two-week period of time.

It will be completed by the end of today, and I can move on into 2012 projects! Most notably, I can get back to the commission tapestries that are on the loom. My goal is to complete  the weaving of them in the next two months. I have had a back problem that has kept me from the loom for the past week, but I'm going to invest in Ibuprofen and move on in spite of it. I'll keep you posted on that....

 In the meantime, Gus and I recommend that you find a warm and sunny spot and celebrate endings and beginnings!